Former Montgomery County policeman Charles Michael Alexander, found guilty last month of bribing a county policeman, was sentenced yesterday to serve one year in prison and remain on probation for three years.

"I don't like sending you to jail at all because you are basically a decent person," Circuit Court Judge John F. McAuliffe told Alexander. But McAuliffe said he felt time in prison was necessary "because of the egregious nature of the crime" and to let others know that "we're not going to tolerate this kind of conduct in Montgomery County."

Alexander was found guilty of two counts of bribery and one of attempted bribery in a scheme to get the names of police informants for several gamblers Alexander had become involved with after leaving the police force. However, the policeman to whom Alexander gave the bribe was working undercover and had taped several of his conversations with Alexander.

Alexander's lawyer James Miller, noting his client's distinguished Army record in Vietnam and his service as a policeman until he was disabled by a drunken driver, asked the judge for probation. The probation officer who investigated Alexander for sentencing purposes also recommended probation, and Alexander's psychologist testified that incarceration could have a "devastating emotional and physical" effect on Alexander, who he said has attempted suicide several times.

McAuliffe said he had weighed all those factors, but felt that "general deterrence" was of such importance that Alexander must be sentenced to a period of incarceration.